The children’s-writing life this week put me in touch with two critique partners, four editors, my agent, the representative for one research subject, the host of a library benefit, a printer of business cards, and many of the 70-plus writers and illustrators who turned out to hear Helen Hemphill speak about novel plotting at yesterday’s monthly meeting of Austin SCBWI.
Along the way, I got a lesson in how to do voice right by reading The Lucky Place by Zu Vincent, whom I met and became friends with earlier this summer.
So, it was a full week filled with connections and crossed paths, which I love. But do you notice anyone conspicuously absent?
I’m talking about young readers — the people I’m writing for in the first place. Lately, I’ve been stuck by how odd it is that we YA and children’s authors who are still pre-publication — pre-bookstore-signing, pre-library-event, pre-school-visit — may have next to no contact with those readers other than with those who live under our own roofs.
There’s a feedback loop that isn’t closed yet, and there’s such a big leap of faith that when the circle is complete, we’ll like what we hear, or at least know what to do with it.